Sound — 8
Robert Plant and Alisson Krauss do a tremendous job of covering a solid track list of classics, a few out-of-the-woodwork type numbers, and some newly written songs(though very few are written by Plant or Krauss themselves). The album is a plethora of musical style, as more than one track ramble from country western, to Native-American, to the music of Eastern culture seemingly note to note. Also an important note is that on many tracks one can hear the distinct reverb technique Plant lifted from Jimmy Page; the same type of drenching can be heard throughtout the Zep catalogue, into Page and Plant, on all of Plants solo rcords, and recently, brought into the studio to record "Raisng Sand".
Lyrics — 9
Many of the songs on the album are covers of country-western, folk, and rock from the 50's and 60's and thus, the lyrics are often depressing but this is not a bad thing though as the integrity of the timeless songwriting is honored by both vocalists. Krauss and Plant, perhaps the two most extroardinary voices on the planet, are the definite essense of the male and female duo. Just as Plant provides the raspy-gentle whisper perfectly for Krauss' songwriting contribution to "Raisng Sand" so does she in return provide "Immigrant Song"-like (only as Krauss could, it's a little hard to explain) back-up on the Page and Plant penned rambler "Please Read the Letter That I Wrote" hus illustrating that they are the vocal counter-part to eachother.
Overall Impression — 10
As mentioned before, there is equal evidence of both Plant's and Krauss' impression and input on the way the songs should be covered or written, and played on the album, but the true beauty of "Raising Sand" is the perfect harmony of the style and influences of Alisson Krauss and Robert Plant together. Happening to have borrowed the album from a friend it won't be returned soon, and when it is, I assuredly plan to buy my own copy. The entire album is a Zen-like, mellow nap on a flying-carpet ride through the spring country, but sometimes feels a little slow rhythmically, as the drums are considerably soft through-out. A particular favorite: the cover of the Everly Brother's "Gone, Gone, Gone ('Cause You Done Me Wrong)"; the vocal harmonies can be described in no other words but being longingly sweet and warm. So pick up "Raising Sand" at the local record shop and prepare to be suprised by two great artists you would expect to suprise you.